you named me...what?

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you named me...what?

Postby chris » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:44 pm

congratulations, your wife/girlfriend/au pair is pregnant. a little bundle of colicky delight awaits you mere months from now. and one of the great joys of this period of anticipation is brainstorming all kinds of kick-ass names for your offspring. but be warned...the power that comes with naming a child can be both intimidating and addictive. we are currently in the throes of a child naming crisis in America. seemingly rational people are naming their kids Baylynn, and Daxx, and Nirvana. Ethans are becoming Aythans. Marys are becoming Jazzminns. as if these wannabe elitist parents think a uniquely horrible name can prevent little Aston Martin from growing up to be merely ordinary.

here are a few simple guidelines I would like to suggest...

do not invent a name. most inventions fail. many don't even make it past the patent stage. what makes you think a name you created out of thin air is going to stand the test of time? there's a reason Jane and David have hung around for so long. they're proven. they've been workshopped out in the field. that isn't true of Kaydiss. this also goes for any classic name you deliberately mutilated. no one is going to be dazzled that you took Christopher and turned it into Krystougher.

think real hard about whether or not a "cool" name is all that cool. listen, I've been vulnerable to this too. I had Duke and Rock on the list for my first son...because i'm an idiot. but I wised up. because you don't pick a name for the intitial novelty of it. you may think naming your kid Ace will automatically think he's a fighter pilot...but the culture changes. names that sound kind of bad-ass now become stale and tepid with the passage of time. if you're going to name your kid Ace, you may as well name him 1987.

don't abuse the letter y. it's not a real vowel. it's only a vowel when all of the other vowels have been injured and you need to use the emergency third string vowel. it isn't some kind of all-purpose megavowel that can be readily substituted for the real ones just because you think it looks cooler.

go easy on the extreme letters. I like x, k and z as much as any competitive scrabble player does. but these are children you're naming, not line extensions of mountain dew. the only reason to name your kid Jaxxon is if you really want him to grow up to be a lacrosse player.

do not use double letters if you do not have to. Branlee. that's a real name. people have used it. just as they've used Kylee, Sandee, and thousands of other homemade names that deploy double ee's and double nn's because...well...beecausee. we're on the verge of triple letters. in two years, a Trissstyn will show up at your day school and everyone's head will explode.

consider whether that apostrophe is really necessary. it isn't

think about the kid and not yourself. are you giving this child a one-of-a-kind name because you're fishing for cheap compliments? do you want friends and family to be dazzled by your creativity? that's probably what's going on here. even if you can't admit it. a name shouldn't make a person. a person has to make a name for themselves. he has to go earn it by fighting bears and seducing wives of dictators. on his own. without your help. so before you fill out that birth certificate...think hard about the person who is going to be carrying around this name for life. put yourself in the child's shoes...and maybe, just'll have the balls not to name her Brixie.
I want to tell her that I love her a lot, but I got to get a belly full of wine.
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